There are 61 mentions of carbon scattered across the Programme for Government. Never before has a chemical element been so heavily politicised. Stephen Wheeler, the managing director of SSE Airtricity, one of the country’s biggest utilities, is not surprised. The future is all about carbon, he says — or, more precisely, getting rid of it. The new government has been in office for just over a month, and Wheeler has politely sent off a “greenprint” — a list of priorities to save the planet — to the environment minister Eamon Ryan. It is much the same recipe as the coalition’s: more green energy, electric cars and heating, and retrofitting homes. The added spice is a healthy dollop of urgency. “This has to be done at pace,” insists Wheeler. The state is planning for five gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030. The total installed capacity of onshore wind is 3.7 gigawatts, built over nearly 30 years. Wheeler says it took 15 years for Britain to reach five gigawatts of offshore, “so we clearly need to get moving”.
Times 2nd Aug 2020 read more »